There is in mankind’s collective memory a deep longing for a paradise we once had and lost. And literature is replete with stories of our collective desire to regain this lost paradise: Atlantis, Utopia, Shangri-La, Erehwon. We know that the deeper reality of life is its fullness and perfection. Life is meant to be better and forever.
Or, is this longing for the fulness of life and its perfection but wish-fulfillment in the face of the problems and difficulties we face as human beings? A salve to ease all the pain and suffering. Science and secular society have often faulted faith and religion for having failed to solve the problems of human misery and suffering, of violence and poverty; and even even to religion for having often caused these things in history. But even today, with the amazing advances made by science and technology, human misery, suffering, poverty and violence still remain intractable.
The Christian message to me is not that Christ came to take away the pain and the suffering, or the poverty and the violence; but that we recognize the transformative powers of these human experiences: pain and suffering transforming us into persons of courage, integrity and strength, poverty and violence transforming us into more caring and loving persons, and death transforming our temporal life into life everlasting, where indeed there will be no more tears.
Easter is God’s announcement and inauguration of this new heaven and the new earth, where there will be no more weeping and no more tears, giving us firm reasons for hope and joy. And wherever God’s words find roots and bear fruits, we see this paradise regained happening here on earth.